CBP Announces Facilitation Measures to Expedite Processing of Holy Week Traffic at Laredo Port of Entry
LAREDO, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is announcing that the agency will employ some time-tested measures and new technologies to help facilitate the annual surge in northbound traffic anticipated over the approaching Holy Week period.
The measures are designed to be able to process a larger than normal volume of travelers seeking tourist permits to travel into the interior of the U.S. while facilitating the daily commuter traffic flows. These flows are expected to increase since many are on leave from work or school.
CBP still strives to temper the facilitation measures with security, always upholding CBP's anti-terrorism mission. In striking that effective balance between facilitation and enforcement, CBP again plans to open four additional lanes of traffic in the former import lot adjoining the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge on an as-needed basis starting on Friday, March 30 through Sunday, April 8, 2012.
Additionally CBP will post extra staffing at all international crossings in Laredo to ensure existing lanes are open, commensurate with traffic flow.
As before, if a line of travelers seeking tourist permits at Colombia-Solidarity Bridge still remains after the facility closes at midnight, CBP officers will stay on duty until all permits are processed. Commercial traffic schedules remain unchanged at all crossings in Laredo.
Local cross border traffic is encouraged to use the far-right hand (easternmost) lanes at Lincoln-Juarez Bridge during that period and that traffic will be routed by CBP officers down through the old import lot ramp to the inspection booth below. In any case the old import lot is equipped to process tourist permits and TABC will provide a booth for travelers to pay state taxes on liquor and tobacco products.
In addition CBP will be posting a message on electronic billboards above the primary lanes at Lincoln-Juarez Bridge advising travelers to tune in to AM 1610, a pilot radio transmitter that broadcasts important tips in English and Spanish regarding documents necessary to cross, enrollment in the SENTRI program and other useful traveler tips. The 10-watt signal can be heard several miles north and south of the bridge.
Lastly, since Easter is fast approaching, CBP is reminding the traveling public that cascarones (confetti-filled eggshells) are restricted to quantities of 10 per passenger and the shells may be decorated or etched but they must be empty, clean and free of any egg residue.
Cascarones are a restricted commodity by CBP in order to prevent further spread of Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) through contaminated eggshells. END is a highly contagious, fatal viral disease that affects a substantial number of bird species, attacking respiratory, nervous and digestive systems. Mortality is up to 90 percent of exposed birds.
"These time-tested facilitation measures that we have consistently deployed during periods of heavy traffic, such as Christmas and New Year's holidays, have been highly effective in minimizing delays," said Sidney Aki, Port Director, Laredo Port of Entry. "We are able to facilitate traffic while maintaining a vigilant anti-terrorism enforcement posture. We are thankful to the traveling public for their patience and for complying with signage and officers' instructions."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.